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JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Compelling read

Just finished " JFK and the Unspeakable". For anyone intrigued by the implausibility of the Warren Repot and the mysterious silence surrounding the assassinations of JFK, RFK, Oswald, and MLK in the 1960's this is a must read. Painstakingly researched and well presente...
Just finished " JFK and the Unspeakable". For anyone intrigued by the implausibility of the Warren Repot and the mysterious silence surrounding the assassinations of JFK, RFK, Oswald, and MLK in the 1960's this is a must read. Painstakingly researched and well presented, hard to put down,totally engrossing, can't wait to pass it on to friends. The conclusions are familiar but most disturbing.

posted by crawl on October 11, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

JFK and The Unspeakable, Why He Died and Why it Matters.The story of the Kennedy years, and the events and conditions that lead to JFK's death.

This book, JFK and the Unspeakable, is for the serious student of Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon years in general, and the Kennedy Assassination in particular. It is an very detailed chronology of events and conditions that preceded, and lead up to, the assassination of JFK. I...
This book, JFK and the Unspeakable, is for the serious student of Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon years in general, and the Kennedy Assassination in particular. It is an very detailed chronology of events and conditions that preceded, and lead up to, the assassination of JFK. It is an excellent resource book to be used as the reader decides for himself if the assassination was the act of a lone deranged gunman, or the product of a conspiracy by the CIA and the "Military Industrial Complex." To this end, the chronology of events serves to introduce the student to ALL the characters, be they participants in these historical events as viewed by the Warren Commission, or the Conspiracy Theory pursued by Louisiana prosecutor Garret. This chronology is one of the book's strengths, do not look to be entertained, as this is not the writer's purpose.
With the Kennedy assassination being the subject of so many prior writer's, the author starts from a unique perspective. First, he seems to elevate JFK to the level of a martyred saint, who was brought down because of his progress towards ending the cold war. This effort at world peace had come about by working together, "under the table", with Soviet Primer Krushchev, and Cuba dictator Castro. Much documentation is provided to support this premise, and I considered it one of the books strongest claims to "new insights." It was interesting to note that Krushchev was out of power within a year after JFK's assassination. Both he and Kennedy seemed to be more ready for an end to the cold war than the other leaders of either man's country. The growing relationship between these two world leaders was described in detail by Krushchev's son, in his memoirs. I found this theme to be one of the most enlightening parts of the book.
Another unique approach used by the author, made no sense to me; the introduction of the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, who the author claimed to have special insights into the events of the times, was prevented from publishing a manuscript on the subject. This supposed "Nostrodomus" was forced to express his views through letters from his residence at the Abbey of Gethsemani, in Kentucky to such famous world people as Clare Boothe Luce. Also, the author seem to be trying to weave the pope and the Catholic Church into the story, but never seemed to carry this line to completion. I failed to see how this entire theme contributed to the book. However, it seemed to be more of a side light and as such did not take away from the strengths of the book's chronology.
Finally, the end of the book seemed to leave me hanging. The original sub title "Why He Died, and Why it Matters, seems to be unanswered. The book will remain on my book shelf to use as a reference for future discussions on this subject. I might add that my interest in this book comes from two sources. First, it is clear that a majority of today's Americans believe that Kennedy's death was the result of a conspiracy. I believe that decaying of our governments "credibility" in the eyes of her citizens was one of the greatest results of JFK assassination, and its presumed cover up. This was why the "Unspeakable" really mattered! Secondly, "Watergate" under the Nixon administration, was a part of my daily life, during my military career, and any study of Watergate and Nixon, must begin with JFK's death.

posted by FCP on December 8, 2009

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  • Posted December 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    JFK and The Unspeakable, Why He Died and Why it Matters.The story of the Kennedy years, and the events and conditions that lead to JFK's death.

    This book, JFK and the Unspeakable, is for the serious student of Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon years in general, and the Kennedy Assassination in particular. It is an very detailed chronology of events and conditions that preceded, and lead up to, the assassination of JFK. It is an excellent resource book to be used as the reader decides for himself if the assassination was the act of a lone deranged gunman, or the product of a conspiracy by the CIA and the "Military Industrial Complex." To this end, the chronology of events serves to introduce the student to ALL the characters, be they participants in these historical events as viewed by the Warren Commission, or the Conspiracy Theory pursued by Louisiana prosecutor Garret. This chronology is one of the book's strengths, do not look to be entertained, as this is not the writer's purpose.
    With the Kennedy assassination being the subject of so many prior writer's, the author starts from a unique perspective. First, he seems to elevate JFK to the level of a martyred saint, who was brought down because of his progress towards ending the cold war. This effort at world peace had come about by working together, "under the table", with Soviet Primer Krushchev, and Cuba dictator Castro. Much documentation is provided to support this premise, and I considered it one of the books strongest claims to "new insights." It was interesting to note that Krushchev was out of power within a year after JFK's assassination. Both he and Kennedy seemed to be more ready for an end to the cold war than the other leaders of either man's country. The growing relationship between these two world leaders was described in detail by Krushchev's son, in his memoirs. I found this theme to be one of the most enlightening parts of the book.
    Another unique approach used by the author, made no sense to me; the introduction of the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, who the author claimed to have special insights into the events of the times, was prevented from publishing a manuscript on the subject. This supposed "Nostrodomus" was forced to express his views through letters from his residence at the Abbey of Gethsemani, in Kentucky to such famous world people as Clare Boothe Luce. Also, the author seem to be trying to weave the pope and the Catholic Church into the story, but never seemed to carry this line to completion. I failed to see how this entire theme contributed to the book. However, it seemed to be more of a side light and as such did not take away from the strengths of the book's chronology.
    Finally, the end of the book seemed to leave me hanging. The original sub title "Why He Died, and Why it Matters, seems to be unanswered. The book will remain on my book shelf to use as a reference for future discussions on this subject. I might add that my interest in this book comes from two sources. First, it is clear that a majority of today's Americans believe that Kennedy's death was the result of a conspiracy. I believe that decaying of our governments "credibility" in the eyes of her citizens was one of the greatest results of JFK assassination, and its presumed cover up. This was why the "Unspeakable" really mattered! Secondly, "Watergate" under the Nixon administration, was a part of my daily life, during my military career, and any study of Watergate and Nixon, must begin with JFK's death.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 26, 2013

    Highest recommendation

    James Douglass has compiled a pivotal work on the JFK assassination. He writes from an unusual (for this genre) perspective: he is a theologian, thus his approach is fresh and nearly unique. The result is a narrative that interweaves much of the (now) forgotten truth of JFK presidency, (i.e. how events affected his understanding and growing mistrust of the military-intelligence complex) with information now available through accepted historical sources that clearly refute the official "lone-nut-with-a-cheap-gun" hypothesis. Douglass reminds us that the historical record demonstrates that Kennedy was increasingly at odds, to put it mildly, with his military and intelligence advisors on nearly every issue. Time has clearly shown that his approach was the correct one but in the early 60's he was considered by the hawks as being treasonous. The events of the assassination, when reviewed against this backround, tell a far different story than, say, the Warren Report. A caveat: this book will, for want of a better word, "read" differently than any of the other assassination works. Douglass takes a theologian's approach to the events and at times compares them with the work of Thomas Merton, a well known anti-war activist. (An aside: Mertons works are well worth the read in their own right). If you are one of those "just the facts" people this will seem odd, but one of his points is that Kennedy was developing a peace policy designed to end cold war tensions and the looming treat of nuclear war. Some of Mertons writings are a lens through which to understand this. In any event his narration of the now publicly available facts leading up to that terrible day in November of 1963 refute the official version(s) and leaves the reader with a much clearer understanding of what actually happened. Footnotes support every claim and comment. If you read only one book on the JFK assassination, read this one. It's really that good.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Overblown

    A theory of horse manure, don't waste your time.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 1, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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